I have been teaching in different capacities for some time now. I taught at university as part of my degree and then did bits and pieces of teaching until I started a proper teaching role at the Cambridge Judge Business School. They do things differently at CJBS and my years there were incredibly formative before I moved into research support, first with my more general STEMM position and then into my current role focusing on the Biological Sciences.
I completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in 2019 with the Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning and I am now focusing on upskilling in the delivery of online learning.
All the materials shared here or linked to are available for reuse under a CC BY licence to Cambridge University Libraries unless otherwise stated.
The Framework Five (2020)
Part of my time is spent helping coordinate training for the Cambridge University Libraries community. Many years ago, a group of librarians got together a created a truly grassroots training initiative called Librarians in Training (LiT). I’m currently serving as Chair of the committee of volunteers who put together a training programme for their colleagues on top of their day jobs.
Librarians in Cambridge tend to be quite good at initiating projects and one hugely successful example has been the Cambridge Information Literacy Network (CILN), which in turn created the Cambridge Information Literacy Framework. It’s very good, you should read it.
In 2019, I met with several CILN folk to talk about doing a joint training programme between LiT and CILN to try and get librarians to engage with the Framework and apply it to their own lives. As with any framework, the detail can be quite theoretical and we wanted to make something practical. At the time of writing, the programme is about to go live and you can see it all on the CILN website. Expertly written by my colleague Helen Murphy and co-managed by myself, Helen and our colleague Laura Moss, it’s shaping up really nicely. Also I will be speaking at LILAC 2020 about it which is very exciting.
STEMM Research Skills Training Programme (2017-present)
Back in 2017, I was invited to a meeting with colleagues from the University of Cambridge’s Researcher Development Programme to talk about how we could deliver training for the STEMM community in a clear and consistent way. If you don’t already know, Cambridge has a lot of libraries often doing lots of different things for their local audiences but there aren’t always that many opportunities for us to join forces and offer a programme for everyone, regardless of discipline or focus. That’s where the STEMM Research Skills Training Programme came in.
After a few years of tinkering, trial and error, and just generally trying to work out what on earth people needed to know, I now coordinate a rich programme of sessions ranging from core skills around getting started with referencing managers through to more focused sessions on where to publish and what on earth do you do with your copyright when you do!
It’s a lot of work but it is incredibly rewarding too. We’ve recently started experimenting with supplementing the in-person teaching with online resources through Moodle and I look forward to seeing how this online provision could grow over time.
Moore Methods (2016-2019)
One of the second things that I did when starting my STEMM research support role was to create a series of research skills teaching sessions. Over the three years that Moore Methods ran (the title is a play on the Betty & Gordon Moore Library’s name where I worked) I experimented with different formats, different timings and different topics before hitting upon the successful model of one hour sessions at lunchtime. The programme evolved and changed according to demand from users and wider research trends but I was very happy with what I created. Colleagues contributed to the content and it developed further into a rich programme that has now been inherited and reworked further by my successor.
23 Research Things (2016)
One of the first things I did when starting my first STEMM research support role back in 2016 was to create a self-guided online programme. Based on the tried-and-tested 23 Things model (first seen in Oxford), I created a series of short videos that were designed as standalone artifacts but that were also embedded in a blog which provided more structured and reflective instructions on how to proceed through the programme.
I’ve written about creating the programme on my own blog, the programme blog is still live, and the videos are available online for your viewing. While inevitably some things might have changed since 2016, the vast majority of the content is still pretty accurate.
I sometimes do bespoke sessions for specific cohorts or courses. One such example is a recent introductory session that I did for a new MPhil in Biotechnology at Cambridge.
I also try to reframe complex topics using activities and other different approaches. One such example is my “Who Can You Really Trust in Science?” session. It’s different every time I deliver it and I am always changing it but here’s a version that works pretty well.